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My new (to me) Lunt 102ED...a quick take

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#26 MarkMittlesteadt

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Posted 14 August 2020 - 03:12 PM

I got my new Losmanday D rail yesterday and mounted it to my rings. I feel so much better using that than the Vixen rail to safely mount it on my M2C.

 

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I also went home over lunch today to find USPS dropped off my GSO 2" diagonal and 32mm EP. Wow! I had forgotten just how BIG 2" diagonals are compared to 1.25" ones. Can't wait to try them all out. Of course rain this weekend, but that's to be expected, right? 

 

But that's fine with me as I'm replacing my makeshift pier extension with a better and nicer looking one. 


Edited by MarkMittlesteadt, 14 August 2020 - 03:13 PM.

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#27 MarkMittlesteadt

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Posted 16 August 2020 - 01:56 PM

I love simplicity. I wanted the ability to just take my mount/tripod (that's all ready and waiting in my garage) outside, and then just have one single case that holds my scope and all my accessories out in one trip. 

 

The stock case came to me with barely enough room for the scope much less being able to put anything else in it. But I saw there was a lot of wasted space inside it. So I planned out redoing the interior to accommodate all my accessories and the scope. First thing I did was take out almost all the padding, except for the bottom and ends. Then it was just a matter of putting in dividers as needed. I work as a custom picture framer and so I used black foamcore board for the "thin walls" that would section off the scope from the accessories, and hot glued it in place.

 

This is how the case came to me (after I already removed a bit of padding for a couple of things and realized this still wouldn't be enough)...

 

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So I tore out almost all the padding and built my custom foamcore walls. The center section of the wall is a bit lower but you'll see why later...

 

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Then I added padding only where needed to secure the OTA. I had to make the center of the foamcore wall a little lower so the ring clamp knobs would fit nicely over the wall a bit. 

 

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Then it was just a matter of figuring out how to place my accessories in the remaining space using a little more loose padding. 

 

Left to right, I have two EP's (8-24mm Zoom and my 32mm EP), my 2X Barlow. Next to that is my Telrad, and because of the Telrad shape, I have my little LED red flashlight sitting on that. To the right of my Telrad, at the far right, is my monster 2" diagonal (which I cannot leave in the scope because the case isn't long enough). What a big difference in size between my old 1.25" and the new 2" diagonal.

 

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Then I just put a piece of padding over my Telrad/flashlight, and drop in my 6X30 finderscope. All ready for a night out. Note that I do have padding over my diagonal, between it and my finderscope but left it off for the pic. Amazing how much room is in this little case with just a little thought and rearranging. The padding on the lid when closed keeps everything in place when carrying it. NOTE: This isn't intended to be a "shipping" case, just a case for me to carry out or take places with me. 

 

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Edited by MarkMittlesteadt, 16 August 2020 - 02:01 PM.

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#28 MarkMittlesteadt

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Posted 17 August 2020 - 11:52 AM

I finally have the Lunt 102ED all set up the way I want it... with all the accessories, the case and my mount. I spent the morning putting it all together and checking focusing on the most distant object, alignment of my Telrad and finderscope with the OTA, and balance points on the mount. I prefer to get it as close as I can in the daylight to make it easier when it gets dark. 

 

Then I did some pruning of my trees to give me better access across the southern sky. Now all I need is some clear weather. 

 

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Edited by MarkMittlesteadt, 17 August 2020 - 11:54 AM.

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#29 MarkMittlesteadt

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Posted 17 August 2020 - 12:38 PM

I found some foam pipe insulation tubes, cut them to size and then hot glued them into my case to snuggly fit my EP's in the case. 

 

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Then I layer some padding over the EP's so I can put the phone holder in my case as well. The padding in the lid of the case keep all my accessories in place.

 

I love using SkySafari as my digital PushTo system. When it's aligned with my scope it is remarkably close. It's not perfect nor precise, but it gets me closer than hand holding the phone when using SkySafari as my star map. I mount it to my finderscope holder (as seen in my previous post with the scope on the mount). The holder allows me to orient my phone either vertically or horizontally. 

 

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Edited by MarkMittlesteadt, 17 August 2020 - 12:40 PM.

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#30 MarkMittlesteadt

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Posted 18 August 2020 - 09:15 PM

I had my Lunt 102ED out last night checking out the big planets. Despite them being so low in the sky and looking through the soup of atmosphere, there were a few moments of very brief, but very good seeing that allowed for some stunning views.

At least five very distinct cloud bands on Jupiter, as well as the GRS and it's largest moons. Saturn even showed a bit of cloud variance on the planet itself. Cassini division clearly visible as well as the ring's shadow on the planet and the planet's shadow on the rings as they wrapped around it.

Very nice views, that unfortunately gave way to the all too present atmospheric problems. Still quite enjoyable. Seemed that under the conditions, the best views came from magnification anywhere from about 90X to 150X. I tried pushing it a little further using a 2X barlow with my zoom, and briefly caught some great views around 200X, but they were quite brief, yet still great to catch a glimpse of it. I've long forgotten the challenge of planetary viewing, much less in the Great Lakes region where good seeing is so hard to come by.

I did notice that when the atmosphere was really boiling, when Jupiter was defocused, there was a bit of a pale green halo around it. Not sure if it was the scope or my 8-24mm zoom causing it though.

I love this scope and mount set up!

Edited by MarkMittlesteadt, 18 August 2020 - 09:39 PM.

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#31 MarkMittlesteadt

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Posted 24 August 2020 - 08:05 AM

I made a new Telrad holder that also doubles as a sliding counterweight to more easily fine tune the balance of my scope on the mount. 

 

I removed my old homemade handle on the scope rings. Since I now use a Losmandy D style rail to mount the scope, I used my Vixen rail as the handle. I had a small ADM saddle clamp lying around, so I made a wooden bracket to attach to the ADM and my Telrad. Now I attach my Telrad to the Vixen rail, and move it forward or back depending on the ideal balance point. While I still slide the scope rings forward or back for a rough balance, I can now do some fine tuning of the balance and I like the Telrad placement on the scope better.

 

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#32 MarkMittlesteadt

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Posted 24 August 2020 - 11:08 AM

Took my new scope out and hung out with the Moon for a while last night. I need to get my camera figured out and get some photos through the eyepiece.

 

This was the cleanest, most detailed view I've had in a very long time. Views of the tiniest details within crater walls. Fine, double ridges that looked very sharp and jagged. I could make out a mountain peak within the dark, unlit valley of a crater that was just barely sticking up out of it and into the sunlight.

I could have looked at it all night, but I didn't have the time. The view along the terminator is showing amazingly detailed structure.

 

I only had my 8-24mm Zoom with a Barlow so the most magnification I could achieve was 180X, but even at it's highest the quality did not break down at all. I might have used more magnification with other scopes I've had, but I have never seen such razor sharp images before. This may not be a true "apo", but even on the Moon there was no detectable color fringing on even the brightest parts of the Moon. I honestly don't know how much more crisp the view could get. The dual/fine focusing is wonderful. I was able to dial in perfect crispness with ease.

 

It was actually quite good seeing given the Moon was sitting rather low in the sky. Not very much turbulance...it was quite steady most of the time I viewed it. 

 

I love this scope!

 

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Edited by MarkMittlesteadt, 24 August 2020 - 11:09 AM.

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#33 MarkMittlesteadt

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Posted 24 August 2020 - 04:10 PM

I added a smartphone camera adapter to be used as an "electronic eyepiece/camera" that utilizes my Celestron 8-24mm Zoom's threaded top to take photos, but also to have a realtime view without looking through the EP itself. Great for outreach or just sharing the view with friends who have a hard time aligning their eye to the EP.

 

I have a build thread on my adapter HERE

 

Works beautifully. Takes some nice, detailed photos too...

 

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This is a detail view of the very top of a tree about three blocks away, with my Zoom EP zoomed all the way in...

 

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#34 MarkMittlesteadt

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Posted 28 August 2020 - 05:43 PM

As much as I like the case that came with the scope, it is too short to hold the scope with the 2" diagonal in the focuser. It was really even too tight a fit for the 1.25 diagonal. I didn't want to keep removing the 2" diagonal, so I considered modding the case to hold it, but I didn't want to ruin such a nice case so I just made another wooden one.

 

This is just a simple wooden case painted a purple color with some texture. I used a roll of "camping pad" foam to protect the scope and keep it safely inside. 

 

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The scope in the rings fits snuggly inside. The rectangle in the middle is a cutout of the foam where the Losmandy rail sits in keeping the scope firmly in place. 

 

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The scope doesn't move a bit. The case is now long enough to hold the scope with the 2" diagonal in the focuser. This is just for my own use, not as a shipping container and it always remains upright.

 

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My accessories are pretty basic. Just my phone camera (with homemade adapter), 6X30 finderscope, GSO 32mm EP, 2X Shorty Barlow and my Celestron 8-24mm Zoom EP. I use foam pipe insulation tubes to hold the EP's in while in the case. 

 

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It all fits nicely together. There is just enough room around the 2" diagonal and focuser to hold my finder and phone camera. The EP's easily fit in the pipe foam tubes and do not move when the lid is closed. When I use it, the accessories are placed in the lid and then I can take the scope out. The case is actually smaller than the one that came with the scope...it's just longer to accommodate the 2" diagonal.

 

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Edited by MarkMittlesteadt, 28 August 2020 - 05:44 PM.

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#35 MarkMittlesteadt

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Posted 29 August 2020 - 12:48 AM

This is the first photo I've taken with my Lunt 102ED. I used my phone camera. Manual tracking on my M2C Alt-Az mount.

 

Not too bad for the first time.

 

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#36 MarkMittlesteadt

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Posted 29 August 2020 - 01:10 PM

I ran the same image through Registax using the wavelets section and it brought out a bit more detail. 

 

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#37 Oscar56

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Posted 29 August 2020 - 03:12 PM

Mark:

 

great thread, thanks for sharing. I have been using SkySafari for planning and star hopping for a few years. I totally forgot about it’s capability for “live tracking” to allow push to star hopping. foreheadslap.gif I am going to see if I can set up something similar with my SV80L and my dobs. 



#38 MarkMittlesteadt

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Posted 29 August 2020 - 04:24 PM

Mark:

 

great thread, thanks for sharing. I have been using SkySafari for planning and star hopping for a few years. I totally forgot about it’s capability for “live tracking” to allow push to star hopping. foreheadslap.gif I am going to see if I can set up something similar with my SV80L and my dobs. 

It doesn't replace GoTo, but it is quite helpful as a "live" starmap and gets me close enough to find things. 



#39 MarkMittlesteadt

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Posted 14 September 2020 - 02:12 PM

Finally figured out a way to get all my accessories packed into the case with the scope. It's a tight (but safe) fit for everything. Pretty easy to access. I just take everything I need out and place it in the lid, and then take the scope out and put it all together.

 

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#40 MarkMittlesteadt

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Posted 14 September 2020 - 02:15 PM

And just some beauty pics of it all together...

 

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#41 Jimmy462

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Posted 14 September 2020 - 07:39 PM

I just made my own handle from some square steel tubing I had and added some spacers under it. I needed it to still fit in my case. I cut the square steel tubing to length, then drilled the holes out, pulled on some thick walled electrical shrink tubing and then capped the ends off with rubber tips.

 

I also made my own "scope-saver" out of two bungee cords. This way if my scope ever slips while mounting or comes loose in the saddle on the mount it won't fall. The handle makes it easier to mount and I feel a little more at ease now mounting the scope. I simply put the scope dovetail rail in the bottom of the saddle, and then before tightening it, I put the bungee cords over the saddle lock down bolts.

 

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Hi Mark,

 

I love your bungee safety-cord innovation! I'm currently cobbling together a similar setup as a special gift for my daughter's 40th birthday (she's got some physical, um, limitations and I've been trying to keep all components under a 10-pound ceiling).

 

I'll be using the same M2C mount (which just arrived from Stellarvue) on a very solid carbon-fiber photo tripod, now I'm just waiting for the boat to arrive with the new AT102EDL's from our hosts here at Astronomics (well, unless >cough< I should be so lucky and another $1200 Stellarvue SVR102T-3FT hits the classifieds...this time with my name on it...just like the one I just missed out on last week! lol.gif)

 

I'm thinking that that safety cord idea will help take some of the personal stress out of having to mount and dismount the scope! Thanks for sharing your own adventures in finding solutions, should I be able to come up with any improvements on your idea I'll be sure to post them!

 

Best, smile.gif

Jimmy G


Edited by Jimmy462, 14 September 2020 - 07:41 PM.

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#42 MarkMittlesteadt

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Posted 14 September 2020 - 08:58 PM

Thanks. The bungee cords just make me feel more at ease. Sometimes I fumble around a bit, or a clamp might not be as tight as it should be. Things happen.

 

They cost me almost nothing and they take about 3 seconds to slip over the saddle knobs, so why not add a level of safety?

 

I really wanted an AT 102ED but I just couldn't wait. I just happened to come across the ad for this Lunt 102ED from a fellow CN'er and it was a good deal. Too good to pass up.



#43 gjanke

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Posted 14 September 2020 - 10:01 PM

I got one yesterday. It is definitely a grab and go 102mm.

 

 

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Edited by gjanke, 14 September 2020 - 10:09 PM.

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